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Monthly Archives: February 2015

… a spring exhibition in Havana against the Cuban national team in 1999 … on the island, the Havana Sugar Kings. Cuba and the U.S … long-time connection through baseball. Several Cuban-born players, including former stars Luis … . There were four teams in Havana. He was the MVP of … Continue reading
28 febrero, 2015 Estados Unidos y Cuba cerraron este viernes su segunda ronda de negociaciones para restablecer sus relaciones con un marcado optimismo, que no se tradujo en acuerdos concretos pero sí en la intención de completar el proceso a tiempo para la Cumbre de las Américas que se celebrará en abril. Continue reading
El hijo del mandatario cubano Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, fue uno de los anfitriones en el exclusivo evento celebrado en La Habana donde se reunió con la modelo británica Naomi Campbell y la heredera multimillonaria Paris Hilton. Continue reading
La hija del gobernante cubano participa desde el viernes en la cumbre Las Mujeres en el Poder y en la Toma de Decisiones", organizada por ONU Mujeres en Santiago de Chile. Continue reading
… . Going into the talks, Communist-ruled Cuba pushed to be removed from … first round of talks in Havana last month. She said there … issue of the terrorism list. Havana says US sanctions on banks … US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro could meet … Continue reading
… future spring training games in Cuba. Baseball players' association president … long-time connection through baseball. Several Cuban-born players have become stars on … had a Triple-A affiliate in Havana before Fidel Castro banned professional … the Cuban national team in 1999. The first game in Havana was … Continue reading
… future spring training games in Cuba. Baseball players’ association president Tony … long-time connection through baseball. Several Cuban-born players have become stars on … had a Triple-A affiliate in Havana before Fidel Castro banned professional … the Cuban national team in 1999. The first game in Havana was … Continue reading
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Tabaré Vázquez recibió una llamada de Maduro que le expresó que no podría estar en su toma de posesión Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_38788" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] A man talks on a pay phone in Havana (photo Alejandro Ernesto/EFE)[/caption][2]14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, 28 February 2015 -- A topic that is raised for discussion these days is the obsolete argument that some official voices never stop repeating at every opportunity they have to strain relations between Cuba and the United States or rather between Cuba and the Outside World. I am referring to the supposed “need” of implementing “appropriate measures designed to avoid the penetration that the enemy hopes to make into Cuban society.”Just a few days ago, in the context of the first National Workshop on Computing and Cyber-Security held in Havana, with the physical or virtual presence of thousands of computer engineers, really absurd speeches were heard that, far from inviting the use of emerging opportunities to propel development, called for “being on guard” in the face of new “maneuvers” by the enemy to “penetrate” Cuban society.I would like for some of these birds of ill omen really to explain, with what does the United States want to penetrate us? Or at least, with what negative thing? Maybe a virus? For that there are anti-viruses. With information about our own reality? We, the people, are screaming for that on our own. Our youth (...) already think about the world and conceive their aspirations in the same way as do the youth of New York  With capitalist propaganda? Our youth do not need it, they already think about the world and conceive their aspirations in the same way as do the youth of New York, sometimes even a little more capitalistic than those. With TV series, soap operas, shows? That is what the Cuban family watches every night, just a week behind. With vice and prostitution? Please, those are fields of enormous potential for replacing imports. The more I think about it, I do not really find the harmful impact about which these things of which gentlemen speak. Could it be rather that they are preparing the terrain in order to justify the excessive and paranoid control that is planned for the future Cuban web surfer?I believe that the old scheme of being able to try to survive at all costs, defending its privilege of being the only one that can “penetrate” the minds, every day, 24 hours a day, of all Cubans and many others out there. . .The reality is that we do not need the Cuban government to “protect” us from any external influence. We are millions of Cuba adults responsible enough to make own decisions in the physical world as well as in the virtual one, who want for our country the same access to the Internet that is widespread on the planet. With all its risks and infinite possibilities.Do not defend us anymore; no one has asked you to.Translated by MLK[1] http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/telefono-Habana-Foto-Alejandro-ErnestoEFE_CYMIMA20150228_0005_16.jpg [2] http://www.14ymedio.com/ Continue reading
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… ,” Legañoa said. At the Cuban Consulate, Cuban Americans waiting on line for … from Cuba? Really, Cuba?’ ” Legañoa said. “Everyone was happy to see the Cuban … first round of talks in Havana.) With Gómez’s unasked question … of the Cuban revolution?” – the Cuban media headed back to Havana on Saturday … Continue reading
Josefina Vidal manifestó en una entrevista al sitio oficial Cubadebate la disposición de ambos gobiernos a avanzar en estos temas al margen de las reuniones diplomáticas. Continue reading

Como ya se ha hecho una costumbre, el Consejo de Ministros se ha reunido el pasado jueves sin aviso previo y su nutrida agenda se ha dado a conocer al día siguiente a través de la prensa oficial. En ese conclave se tomaron decisiones relacionados con la llamada “actualización del modelo económico y social” cubano. Llama la atención que los pasos que se dan en esta dirección siguen careciendo de una conceptualización del modelo que se pretende actualizar.

Las dos principales medidas fueron la aprobación de un mecenazgo estatal para proyectos culturales y la simplificación e integración de servicios y trámites. En cuanto a la financiación del trabajo de artistas y escritores, fue significativo que no se mencionara la actividad cinematográfica ni la institución que la rige, el ICAIC. En dicho sector hay un fuerte movimiento que exige una  Ley de Cine. En lo relacionado a la “tramitología”, todo parece indicar que se aplicarán prácticas que se experimentaron a nivel local en el municipio Güines de la provincia de Mayabeque, pero que al generalizarlas al resto del país, chocarán con los intereses de la burocracia y requerirán una elevado nivel de informatización.

La aspiración de tener en Cuba un ferrocarril confiable, rentable y eficiente fue también objeto de atención del Consejo de Ministros, donde quedó aprobado “el perfeccionamiento del Sistema Ferroviario (…) a partir de su concepción como un sistema paramilitar, caracterizado por una estricta disciplina; con una cadena de mando bien definida, en correspondencia con los niveles de dirección y jerarquización; uso de distintivos y uniformes; un reglamento disciplinario único; y los cargos principales se completarán con cuadros de experiencia en el mando y la dirección”. Dicho sistema lo integrarán la Unión de Ferrocarriles de Cuba, la Administración de Transporte Ferroviario (de nueva creación) y la Policía Ferroviaria.[[QUOTE:“El perfeccionamiento del Sistema Ferroviario (…) a partir de su concepción como un sistema paramilitar"]]

Leonardo Andollo Valdés, segundo jefe de la Comisión Permanente para la Implementación y Desarrollo, agregó que se deberá garantizar una eficaz coordinación entre el funcionamiento, el incremento de los indicadores de seguridad del movimiento de los trenes y la disminución al máximo del riesgo de incumplimientos, tanto en los horarios como en la calidad de los servicios y las producciones de apoyo.

Esta no es la primera ocasión en que se anuncia una intervención salvadora en los ferrocarriles cubanos, los más antiguos de América Latina, pero los anteriores esfuerzos han sido insuficientes o abandonados por diversas razones. Adquisición de locomotoras chinas, reparación parcial de vías férreas y alguna que otra medida administrativa no han logrado una modernización integral de un medio de transporte idóneo para las condiciones de Cuba, una isla larga y estrecha. Si las inversiones financieras y el gasto en fuerza de trabajo y recursos materiales se limitan a una mera reparación, a la vuelta de los años habrá que empezar otra vez por el principio.

Los ministros aprobaron también el proceso para realizar el reordenamiento de las entidades de ciencia, tecnología e innovación, política que había sido avalada por el Consejo de Ministros en mayo del 2013, “dirigido a elevar los impactos económicos, sociales y ambientales de los resultados de las entidades de ciencia, tecnología e innovación, en correspondencia con la proyección estratégica trazada para el desarrollo del país”.[[QUOTE:Un detalle inquietante fue la ausencia del ministro de Comercio Exterior y la Inversión Extranjera, Rodrigo Malmierca]]

Al informar sobre el plan de continuidad de estudio de los graduados de noveno grado hacia la educación técnica y profesional, así como al preuniversitario, la ministra de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, Margarita González Fernández, dejó sorprendidos a muchos cuando refirió que, para el curso regular diurno 2015-2016, hay un déficit de estudiantes debido al decrecimiento demográfico del país. A esto quizás se deba que sea posible garantizar a todos los graduados de noveno grado “la continuidad de estudios, tanto en preuniversitario como en la educación técnica y profesional”. Por otra parte. el plan de ingreso a la Educación Superior en el curso diurno y por encuentros 2015-2016 dispondrá de 41.184 plazas.

Un detalle inquietante fue la ausencia del ministro de Comercio Exterior y la Inversión Extranjera, Rodrigo Malmierca, quien no ha aparecido en público en señaladas ocasiones, como fueron la visita del presidente turco o el encuentro con el excanciller español, Ángel Moratinos. Antonio Carricarte Corona, viceministro primero, mencionado también como “ministro en funciones”, es quien ha dado la cara. Ahora en este cónclave le tocó hablar del creciente interés de Gobiernos extranjeros en contratar servicios a empresas cubanas y añadió:

“Por ello, es necesario establecer premisas que aseguren el cumplimiento de los compromisos contraídos, el adecuado control y la protección de los intereses de Cuba, sin introducir trabas que entorpezcan su desarrollo, ni frenen los objetivos empresariales de la parte cubana”.

Cada Consejo de Ministros deja en la población “la tranquilidad” de que no se da marcha atrás a las reformas impulsadas por el Gobierno en los últimos años, pero también el desasosiego de que no se avanza con la velocidad y profundidad que muchos desean. 

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… followed negotiations that began in Havana last month, after President Barack … respectful." Robertson's Cuban counterpart, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, also … . In particular, the Cuban delegation stressed that Cuba's status on … list." Jacobson acknowledged the Cuban delegation's concern, but … Continue reading
… followed negotiations that began in Havana last month, after President Barack … respectful." Robertson's Cuban counterpart, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, also … . In particular, the Cuban delegation stressed that Cuba's status on … list." Jacobson acknowledged the Cuban delegation's concern, but … Continue reading
… , in Vuelta Abajo, a western Cuban region famous for producing premium … Río, 180 km west of Havana. The region of Vuelta Abajo … trade and investment opportunity for Havana and Washington, if bilateral ties … . 23-27 in Havana. “The increase in sales in Cuba won’t be … Continue reading
… terror list. U.S. and Cuban officials said there was … negotiations in Havana last month after President Barack Obama and Cuban President … Josefina Vidal, chief of the Cuban foreign ministry's U … relations, the U.S. and Cuba swapped prisoners in Decemeber, which … Continue reading
… tourists at the Cuban Hebrew community board building in Havana. A busload … Cuba established its first permanent diplomatic mission in Jerusalem. The Cuban leader … tourists have long visited Cuba freely, and Cuban artists and intellectuals have … Continue reading
FRANK CALZÓN: Aunque usted no lo crea FRANK CALZÓN 02/26/2015 1:00 PM  02/26/2015 9:00 PM Durante muchos años, el escritor Robert Ripley se dedicó a coleccionar rarezas e historias extrañas en su columna que leían millones de lectores alrededor del mundo. Si Ripley aún viviera seguramente le hubiera dedicado varios de sus artículos a Fidel […] Continue reading
… there was a venue in Havana where we could dance in … across the harbor from Old Havana. Dance at a Book Fair … selling books to Cubans for less than $1. Cuba has 100% literacy … Old Havana as a backdrop. Facing thousands of Cubans, our group joined CubansContinue reading
… Monday from Havana and every Friday from Montego Bay, Jamaica. Cuba Cruise … six ports of call: Havana, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Montego Bay (Jamaica … destination,” said Medeiros. “There are Cuban crew members, performers and dancers … lecture series with University of Havana professors onboard as well. And … Continue reading
El castrismo ha cometido crímenes contra la libertad, contra la cultura, contra las esperanzas de un pueblo, contra los sueños de una sociedad. Continue reading
Las celebridades cenaron y posaron para los fotógrafos asistentes al evento, al tiempo que se tomaron selfies con Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart . Continue reading
[1]Rebeca Monzo, 8 February 2015 — After reading an article from the January 31, 2015 issue of the newspaper Granma  about Cuba and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) entitled “Cooperation Leads the Way,” a ton of questions came to mind about the subject at hand.It has been forty years since a UNDP office was established in our country with the objective to collaborate with the island’s government on the promotion of social development and public well-being.From my meager understanding, the only party to have benefited from this has been the government itself, especially in terms of the favorable publicity it has received. They make up a negligible part of the population but the Cubans who work for this and other UN organizations are paid in CUC (Cuban convertible peso), which surpass by leaps and bounds the highest salaries of the most qualified professionals in our society, who are paid in CUP (Cuban pesos).According to the aforementioned article, Granma “chatted” with Mrs. Jessica Faieta, Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, who discussed the improvement of the quality of life of our citizens. She recognized the efforts of the Cuban government in regards to food security and the strengthening of the agricultural and non-agricultural cooperatives, pointing out, in addition, that the Cuban healthcare system has been strengthened.With all due respect, it strikes me that this official had only a limited view of the situation, as is the case with everyone who visits us. Guests are taken only to those organizations that have been prepared in advance by the government and which serve as “display windows” for foreigners.Perhaps if she had to depend on the ration book for a while or to seek medical help at one of our clinics — those  used by the average citizen — it is quite possible she might think differently. I do not understand how UNDP, based in our country for four decades, has not been given the task of investigating on their own — in closer contact with the population — to verify the “wonderful statistics” provided by the government, which does not at all reflect our reality.One need only take a stroll through Central Havana, Old Havana (provided one ventures beyond the historic center), Cerro, Tenth of October Arroyo Naranjo, San Miguel del Padron and even Vedadao and other neighborhhoods to see the poor sanitation conditions and overcrowding in which the Cuban people must live. and the lack of specialists in our health centers, for being these missions abroad, being replaced mostly by students, many of them foreigners. There is also the issue of a shortage of specialists in our health system due to the large number of them serving abroad in medical missions. They are being replaced mainly by medical students, many of them foreigners.In terms of our society’s standard of living, it should be pointed out that the disappearance of the middle class — the very mark of a country’s wealth — has led to the emergence of an impoverished class (with equality for all) with salaries that do not cover even the most basic necessities. The contrast is made even more striking by the emergence of a leadership class with an affluent lifestyle which only accentuates the differences.However, Mrs. Faieta and I are in full agreement when it comes to the positive steps taken towards normalization of diplomatic relations between the governments of the United States of America and Cuba. Once there is a successful outcome — one hopes sooner rather than later — it will be to the benefit of all Cubans. I believe that it is time to end once and for all the blindness that until now has led the way.[1] https://porelojodelaaguja.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/logo-pnud.jpg Continue reading
Están parados juntos, agarrados de la mano. Han traído una dosis de alegría y esperanza a un pueblo ávido de novedades y frustrado en medio del "tira y encoge" entre Cuba y Estados Unidos Continue reading

Un tema que se impone discutir en estos tiempos es el obsoleto argumento que no paran de repetir algunos voceros oficiales en cada oportunidad que tienen de enrarecer las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos o mejor dicho, entre Cuba y el Mundo Exterior. Me refiero a la supuesta “necesidad” de poner en práctica “las medidas correspondientes para evitar la penetración que el enemigo espera tener en la sociedad cubana”.

Hace solo unos días, en el marco de primer Taller Nacional de Informatización y Ciberseguridad celebrado en La Habana, con la presencia física o virtual de miles de ingenieros informáticos, se escucharon discursos realmente alucinantes que lejos de invitar al uso de las oportunidades que se abren para impulsar el desarrollo, llamaban a “ponerse en guardia” ante las nuevas “maniobras” del enemigo para “penetrar” la sociedad cubana.

Me gustaría que alguna de estas aves de mal agüero explicara realmente ¿con qué es que nos quiere penetrar Estados Unidos?. O por lo menos ¿con qué cosa negativa?. ¿Acaso con virus? Para eso están los antivirus. ¿Con información acerca de nuestra propia realidad? Eso el pueblo lo está exigiendo a gritos a nuestros propios medios.[[QUOTE:Nuestros jóvenes (…) ya piensan el mundo y conciben sus aspiraciones de la misma forma que los de New York]]

¿Con propaganda capitalista? Nuestros jóvenes no la necesitan, ya piensan el mundo y conciben sus aspiraciones de la misma forma que los de New York, a veces incluso un poquito más capitalistas que aquellos. ¿Con series, novelas, shows? Es lo que cada noche ve la familia cubana, solo que con una semana de atraso. ¿Con vicios y prostitución? Por favor, esos son campos con enormes potencialidades para sustituir importaciones…

Por más que pienso no encuentro realmente cual puede ser esa oscura incidencia nociva de la que hablan estos señores. ¿No será que más bien preparan el terreno para justificar el excesivo y paranoico control que se piensa tener sobre el futuro internauta cubano?

Creo que el viejo esquema de poder intenta sobrevivir a toda costa, defendiendo su privilegio de ser el único que puede “penetrar” la mente, cada día, las 24 horas, a todos los cubanos y a muchos otros por ahí...

La realidad es que no necesitamos que el gobierno cubano nos “proteja” de ninguna influencia externa. Somos millones los cubanos adultos con la suficiente responsabilidad para tomar nuestras propias decisiones tanto en el mundo físico como virtual, que queremos para nuestro país el mismo acceso a Internet que hoy se generaliza en el planeta. Con todos sus riesgos y sus infinitas posibilidades.

No nos defiendan más, que nadie se los ha pedido.

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El gobierno español ha pedido nuevamente a Cuba la extradición de dos miembros de la organización terrorista ETA refugiados en la isla desde los años 80. Continue reading
New Electoral Law: New Wine in Old Wineskins? / Miriam Celaya
Posted on February 28, 2015

After the Tenth Assembly of the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist
Party of Cuba (PCC) the news about the next "enactment of a new
electoral law; and the subsequent holding of general elections" has
begun to circulate in the official media. Such an important announcement
in a country where, for more than 60 years ago no general election has
taken place, is mentioned almost tangentially, just nine words in an
informational note on the above Assembly, whose "focal point" had to do
with issues related to the preparations for the celebration of the April
2016 Sixth Congress of the single party.

So this is how the casual style of the announcement turns out so very
misleading, downplaying a code whose nature would be essential in any
minimally democratic society.

It is unknown what motivates this renewal of the law in a country whose
government, until recently, boasted of having the most fair, transparent
and participatory electoral process in the world, able to summon an
overwhelming majority of voters to the polls. The case provokes many
questions, some very basic: Why change a law that is supposedly a
paradigm of democracy even for the most civilized nations on the planet?
Why does the proposal arise from the central committee and not from the
higher authorities of the People's Power, as might be expected? What
reason is there for the urgency in enacting a new Electoral Law?

Once again, we only have speculation in the face of official secrecy and
conspiracy. In fact, this time they have not announced the completion of
an extensive process of "popular consultation", though it was conducted
– at least in a formal manner — for several months in 2013, before the
creation of the new Work Code currently in effect. The time span between
the April 2015 "partial elections" and the enactment of the new
Electoral Law was not clearly established either, though judging from
the official information that was disclosed we can assume it will be brief.

In principle, the announcement has accomplished the government's
purpose: to not awaken dangerous expectations among Cubans, especially
after the wave of enthusiasm that seized many with the December 17th
announcement about the restoration of relations between Cuba and the U.S.

In that vein, subsequent statements by the General-President during the
last meeting of CELAC cooled the wildest fires, and, at the same time,
they have widened the gap between the Government and citizens. No doubt
that the olive green tower has proven that the hope for effective
changes for Cubans focuses more in the future steps of the "enemy"
government than in the "actualization of the model" endorsed by mediocre
Raulista reforms. The Revolution has become a succession of failures,
and today the old Sierra Maestra combatants and their side troops sense
that the smallest of openings could end in a loss of control.

It is fair to say that the fears of those in power are well founded.
Wouldn't it be right to expect that the multiparty system requirements
or, at least, a strong controversy about the one-party system would
emerge from an extensive debate by Cuban society? Are we not in a
favorable scenario for claiming genuine democratic participation and
transparent general elections to replace the electoral farce practiced
for the past 40 years? Obviously, the elderly leaders will not want to
take too many risks.

For now, it seems impossible to imagine what "new" democratic clauses
the same dictatorship that has dominated life and property for 56 years
has in store for us. In any case, the sacred scriptures say that you
cannot pour new wine into old wineskins.

Everything indicates that the new electoral law will yet another plot of
the power and its claque, just a hasty move to bolster up the makeup
that minimally covers the dictatorial nature of the regime, and to
silence the scruples and demands of the nations gathered at the Americas
Summit this fast approaching April. Presumably, the olive green cohort –
who might do away with uniforms and decorations and dress impeccably in
civil garb for the occasion — will brag about the partial election
results and offer the new electoral code as irrefutable proof of his
willingness to change and his democratic calling. If it weren't so
twisted, such a pathetic pantomime would be laughable.

However, we could be facing a dangerous move here that would entail a
high cost for the democratic aspirations of the Cuban people. Civic
orphan-hood and generalized apathy are the best cards the Havana regime
is counting on. It is urgent that public opinion be alerted about a
possible ploy that – in the style of "eternal socialism" style — would
only want to artificially postpone the end of the most persistent and
pernicious dictatorship of the many that have blossomed in this Hemisphere.

Source: New Electoral Law: New Wine in Old Wineskins? / Miriam Celaya |
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/new-electoral-law-new-wine-in-old-wineskins-miriam-celaya/ Continue reading
U.S., Cuba say progress made in talks; no date for diplomatic ties
BY DAVID ADAMS AND ARSHAD MOHAMMED
WASHINGTON Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:11pm EST

After Cuba talks, U.S. optimistic embassies could open by April
Cuba says progress made at normalization talks with U.S.
(Reuters) - Cuba and the United States held a second round of talks on
Friday toward normalizing ties, and both sides said they made good
progress, although they did not set a date for renewal of diplomatic
relations that Washington severed 54 years ago.

Going into the talks, Communist-ruled Cuba pushed to be removed from a
U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. But Washington said that while
it was reviewing Cuba's place on the list, the designation should not be
linked to the negotiations on renewing relations and opening embassies.

The head of Cuba's delegation to the talks, Josefina Vidal, said
afterward that removal from the list was not a pre-condition for renewal
of diplomatic ties.

But it was "a priority" for Cuba, she said, adding it would be "very
difficult to say that we have re-established relations with our country
still on a list that we believe very, very firmly that we have never
belonged to and we do not belong to."

The talks in Washington stemmed from the historic decision announced by
the two Cold War era foes last December to work to normalize relations,
including opening embassies in each other's countries, and to exchange
prisoners.

"We have made progress," Vidal, chief of the Cuban foreign ministry's
U.S. division, told reporters. The discussions followed a first round of
talks in Havana last month.

She said there was no date yet for the next meeting on the renewal of
ties, but the two sides were going to maintain contact and she was
optimistic there would be more advances in coming weeks on the issue of
the terrorism list.

Havana says U.S. sanctions on banks that do business with designated
countries on the list impede it from conducting diplomatic affairs in
the United States. The two countries, politically at odds since soon
after Cuba's revolution in 1959, currently have diplomats working in
each other's capitals, but they operate from what are known as interests
sections.

The United States is hoping to reach agreement on reopening embassies in
time for an April 10-11 regional summit in Panama, where U.S. President
Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro could meet for the first
time since announcing their joint agreement on Dec. 17.

The head of the U.S. delegation at the talks, U.S. Assistant Secretary
of State Roberta Jacobson, told reporters in reply to a question: "I do
think we can get this done in time for the Summit of the Americas."

'COOPERATIVE SPIRIT'

Jacobson called Friday's talks "productive and encouraging," and said
they were held in "a very cooperative spirit."

She said Cuba and the United States would hold a series of exchanges in
coming weeks on issues including increasing Cuba's Internet
connectivity. Only a tiny fraction of Cubans have access to high-speed
Internet though Cuban officials have lately promised wider service.

Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said re-establishing
diplomatic relations was a technical process involving "fairly normal"
negotiations, while the terrorism sponsorship designation was a separate
process and "not a negotiation."

"It is an evaluation that is made under a very strict set of
requirements, congressionally mandated, and that has to be pursued
separately, and it is being pursued separately," he told reporters.

The Obama administration is nearing completion of its review of Cuba's
place on the list, which must be submitted to Congress before it can be
removed, a senior State Department official told reporters on Wednesday.

Cuba was added to the terrorism sponsors list in 1982, when it aided
Marxist insurgencies during the Cold War. But it is currently aiding a
peace process with Colombia's left-wing FARC guerrillas.

Following December's announcement, the Obama administration lifted a
series of limitations on trade and travel last month and the U.S.
president, a Democrat, called for an end to the decades-old economic
embargo on Cuba. The embargo would have to be lifted by the
Republican-controlled Congress, overcoming resistance from some members
fiercely opposed to the rapprochement.

(Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta in Havana and Warren Strobel in
Washington; Writing by Frances Kerry; Editing by Dan Grebler and Ken Wills)

Source: U.S., Cuba say progress made in talks; no date for diplomatic
ties | Reuters -
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/28/us-cuba-usa-idUSKBN0LV0CN20150228 Continue reading
Madrid pide a La Habana la extradición de dos etarras históricos DDC | Madrid | 28 Feb 2015 – 11:28 am. La resolución de esta demanda condiciona la postura de España ante la petición del régimen de salir de la lista de países que patrocinan el terrorismo. El Gobierno español reiteró recientemente —en diciembre y […] Continue reading
Salaries for Doctors on the Island Will Increase / Cubanet, Roberto
Jesus Quinones
Posted on February 27, 2015

Cubanet, Roberto Jesus Quinones, Guantanamo, 16 February 2015 — A rumor
is keeping the medical sector in Guantanamo euphoric, and it provokes
immediate outbursts of joy in hospital corridors, in homes and in every
place the supposedly good news is known. No one knows the origin of the
rumor nor its hidden intent.

According to those who are in charge of spreading it, very soon the
government will increase the salary for doctors. And, as happens with
every rumor, there are always those who know everything about it and
affirm that the new increase will be put into force to try to contain
the exodus of physicians abroad by way of a 30-day exit permit, a type
of safe conduct that helps them flee.

These experts assure that the new increase will raise physicians'
salaries to 5,000 pesos per month (200 dollars), an astronomical pay in
Cuba, but that they'll only receive it if they agree to sign a document
saying they will remain in the country for five or ten years without
asking for the exit permit.

However, a few days after the rumor appeared, the voices of others begin
to be heard. They speak clearly, affirming that not even with this
increase, which would place the doctors in the vanguard of the Castro
Communist labor aristocracy — now made up of Party and governmental
bureaucracy along with the sportsmen of high performance and the high
officials of the armed forces and the Ministry of the Interior — would
they be able to contain the massive exodus of these professionals
abroad. Above all to Ecuador, a country that doesn't request visas and
where there already exists a developing but prosperous Cuban medical
community that has taken care of communicating to its colleagues on the
Island the high lifestyle that is rapidly achieved in the land of Eloy
Alfaro.

Because 5,000 Cuban pesos are around 200 dollars, a sum very inferior to
what any Cuban doctor could earn abroad.

Between the well-being within reach and the promises of a prosperous and
sustainable socialism, which no one knows when it will arrive nor if
also there is another rumor or a new feverish chimera of the Cuban
leaders, you don't have to rack your brains to decide. Stupid people are
more scarce every day, and the ideological teque* has been in intensive
care for some time.

I don't know what the government will do to stop this flight of doctors,
which has a direct effect on one of its most trumpeted social
accomplishments — currently in a very precarious state, among other
things because of the lack of specialists — and on the export of health
services, which is perhaps, together with tourism, the most lucrative
activity of the Cuban economy at this time.

In case the rumor becomes a certainty, let's see what happens with the
other professionals, because the flight of qualified personnel is not
limited to the medical sector. Pandora's Box is open, and the government
doesn't give any signs that will let us believe it is possible to close
it and, above all, to convince us.

*Translator's note: "Teque" is literally a spinning top, and is used in
Cuba to mean old, worn out, political harangues.

Translated by Regina Anavy

Source: Salaries for Doctors on the Island Will Increase / Cubanet,
Roberto Jesus Quinones | Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/salaries-for-doctors-on-the-island-will-increase/ Continue reading
Kerry: La salida de Cuba de la lista de patrocinadores del terrorismo no es negociable “La designación sobre países que promueven el terrorismo es un proceso separado, no es una negociación”, dijo el jefe de la diplomacia estadounidense. Agencias febrero 27, 2015 El Gobierno de Estados Unidos completará un proceso de revisión antes de decidir […] Continue reading
U.S.-Cuba officials: Diplomatic ties could resume by mid-April
BY MIMI WHITEFIELD MWHITEFIELD@MIAMIHERALD.COM
02/27/2015 9:55 AM 02/27/2015 10:51 PM

WASHINGTON
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta
Jacobson said enough progress was made in talks with Cuba on Friday that
it might be possible to reestablish diplomatic relations by the Summit
of the Americas in April.

"I do think we can get this done in time for the Summit of the
Americas," she said after the conclusion of the second round of
U.S.-Cuba talks at the U.S. State Department.

Josefina Vidal, head of the Cuban Foreign Relations Ministry's U.S.
division and the head of the Cuban delegation at the talks, said both
sides "had a good meeting today."

"We made progress in our discussions. For the second time, delegations
sat down at the negotiating table to discuss as equals the terms for
reestablishing diplomatic relations and the reopening of embassies,"
Vidal said.

Jacobson said the United States viewed renewing ties and reopening
embassies "as critical early steps of the longer term process of
normalizing relations more than half a century after we severed relations."

Going into the talks, Cuba said it hoped for progress on two issues: the
removal of Cuba from the United States' list of state sponsors of
terrorism and the banking dilemma faced by its diplomatic missions in
Washington and at the United Nations.

For the past year, the Cuban missions have been without a bank, meaning
everything from receiving visa fees to paying their light bills must be
done on a cash basis.

After the closed-door meeting, Vidal said, "We feel confident that in
the following weeks we will see progress on both issues so we can move
on towards the resumption of diplomatic relations and the reopening of
embassies."

The two issues are tied because Cuba's continued presence on the list
has made banks wary of handling Cuban accounts and running afoul of U.S.
laws related to sanctioned countries. In recent years, other countries
have faced similar problems in finding a banker.

After the first round of talks, Cuba seemed to indicate that the
resumption of diplomatic relations couldn't go forward as long as Cuba
remained on the list and hadn't found a banker.

But Vidal said Friday the Cuban delegation hadn't linked the issues. "No
conditions but we believe this is important to solve in process toward
reestablishing diplomatic relations," she said.

The two sides also discussed nuts-and-bolts issues, such as assuring
that U.S. diplomats will be able to freely travel throughout Cuba and
talk to dissidents if they want, that Cuban citizens aren't impeded from
visiting the U.S. diplomatic mission and that shipments arriving at a
future embassy won't be hampered.

The United States has continued to insist that its diplomats be able to
see as "broad a slice of Cuban life as possible" as part of their jobs
and have access to all kinds of people, Jacobson said.

The talks are part of a shift in Cuba policy outlined Dec. 17 by
President Barack Obama aimed at bringing about change in Cuba through
engagement and support of the Cuban people. The United States has
maintained the best way of having impact on the differences that still
separate the two countries is through renewing diplomatic relations and
talking.

The United States might be feeling more time pressure than the Cubans
because the White House hopes to show progress on its rapprochement with
Cuba before it heads to the April 10-11 Summit of the Americas in Panama.

The United States' former policy of isolating Cuba has been a source of
much friction with Latin American nations who have rallied around the
island as a symbol against imperialism in the region.

"The president has to come to the summit with something in his hands,"
said Jason Marczak, deputy director of the Atlantic Council's Adrienne
Arsht Latin American Center. "But the Cubans want slow, measured steps
[toward renewing diplomatic relations]. They are in no hurry."

Both Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro plan to attend the summit and it
would be their first time they've been in the same room since they
jointly announced in December that the two countries planned to resume
diplomatic ties. Their only previous encounter was a quick handshake in
South Africa at the funeral of Nelson Mandela in December 2013.

"To be sitting in the same room at the summit with Raúl Castro and still
have Cuba one of four nations on the list could really backfire on the
president," Marczak said.

An expedited review of whether Cuba should remain on the list of state
sponsors of terrorism is underway in Washington. If the president
decides to remove Cuba from the list, he must notify Congress 45 days
before the decision takes effect.

"For Cuba, it's a matter of justice. We think we should never have been
a part of this list," Vidal said.

The list also includes Iran, Sudan and Syria. Cuba was added in 1982 at
a time when it was helping Marxist insurgencies, but now it is hosting
meetings to facilitate a peace process between the Colombian government
and FARC guerrillas in that country.

However, Cuba continues to harbor fugitives wanted in the United States
for decades. Among them are former Black Liberation Army leader JoAnne
Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur. She was convicted in the
shooting death of a New Jersey state trooper in 1973 and fled to Cuba
after a prison break.

Cuba has granted her and other U.S. fugitives political asylum. Vidal
said the number of U.S. citizens in that group is small and that Cuba is
not open to discussions about them at the talks.

Earlier this week, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat, sent
letters to both Secretary of State John Kerry and FBI Director James B.
Comey requesting a full list of the fugitives receiving sanctuary in Cuba.

"Before Cuba is removed from the list of state sponsors of terror, the
Castro regime must be held to account for these acts and American
fugitives must be brought back to face justice in the U.S.," Menendez
wrote in the letter to Kerry.

Jacobson said that no date had been set for a next round of talks but
said both sides have agreed to stay in "permanent communication'' on a
variety of issues.

"It makes it sound like we're not going to sleep," she joked.

Jacobson said the two sides had agreed to have a number of dialogues on
issues of mutual interest in coming weeks, including one on the
structure for a human rights conversation.

While human rights, she said, is "our most challenging, the most
difficult perhaps'' of any of the ongoing dialogues with Cuba, it is
also "one of the most important."

Source: U.S.-Cuba officials: Diplomatic ties could resume by mid-April |
Miami Herald Miami Herald -
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article11332274.html Continue reading
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